Business and City in Brief

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The stores group Sears and a number of other companies have received 'a warning shot across the bows' from the Accounting Standards Board over their application of rules on the treatment of goodwill on the disposal of a business.

The ASB's chairman, David Tweedie, said the statement by the organisation's Urgent Issues Task Force followed concern that some companies were avoiding the underlying purpose of the rules by taking a legalistic approach rather than being guided by the spirit of a deliberately concise statement. If the warning was not heeded the ASB would have to consider issuing rule books.


Olympia & York filed a revised restructuring plan in a Canadian bankruptcy court that will leave the once mighty Reichmann family with a mere shadow of their former massive holdings, lawyers said. Olympia & York Developments Ltd will in effect be in the hands of O&Y's scores of unsecured lenders, who are owed billions. Creditors are expected to approve the revised business plan next month.


British Airways is believed to have won the bidding for a 25 per cent stake in Australia's state-owned Qantas Airways, the Australian newspaper reported.


GT Management, the fund manager that looks after pounds 7bn, refused to comment on a report that it had been put up for sale by Bank in Liechtenstein, its owner since 1989.


Nearly seven out of 10 owner- managed businesses say they are not confident that the economy will improve over the next year, according to a survey of 600 companies by Mori on behalf of Ernst & Young, the accountants. Six months ago, after the Conservatives' general election victory, 66 per cent were optimistic.


New US home building rose 1.5 per cent in November, the Commerce Department said. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts rose to 1.24 million last month from 1.22 million in October.


Consumer prices in the OECD area rose 4.3 per cent in October from a year earlier, unchanged from September's year-on-year rise.

Costain lowered IBCA, the rating agency, has lowered its senior debt rating for Costain Group from BBB- to B+. Moody's Investors Service cut Tarmac's commercial paper rating from Prime-2 to Prime-3.


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The National Home Improvement Council has ceased trading after 17 years. Subscription income had been falling with the downturn in the construction industry, as businesses closed or found it impossible to maintain financial support for the council


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Grand Metropolitan is to buy state-owned Uganda Development Corp's 51 per cent share of East African Distilleries. EAD dominates Uganda,s domestic spirits market with the national spirit, Waragi.


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Reuters has bought a new secutities lending software called Loan-Ex from AT&T Istel and Premiere Systems.


NEW YORK: IBM continued to depress the Dow Jones Average, down 29.18 points to 3,255.18 by the close.

BOMBAY: The BSE index lost 104.57 points to 2,372.72, as fears of political instability caused panic in the market.

HONG KONG: Easing of the Sino- British row saw the Hang Seng index 100.15 up at 5,415.96.

TOKYO: In thin trade, the Nikkei 225 index closed down 212.03 points at 17,268.71.

SYDNEY: Profit-taking in heavy trading cut the All Ordinaries index 12.6 points to 1,497.0.

BRUSSELS: The BEL 20 index rose 5.22 points to 1,106.35.

FRANKFURT: In active trading, the DAX index fell 9.17 points to 1,472.07.

MADRID: The general index closed down 0.47 points at 214.84.

MILAN: The MIB index rose 4 points to close at 804.

PARIS: Recovery turned sour when banks raised base rates. The CAC-40 index closed 8.10 points lower at 1,736.69.

LONDON: Report, page 27.